Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia
Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

No "point to prove" for Aitken after 2023 race-defining Le Mans crash

Jack Aitken insists he didn't come to Le Mans with a "point to prove" as he seeks to leave his 2023 opening-lap crash behind him at the 24 Hours.

#311 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken, Felipe Drugovich

#311 Whelen Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-SeriesR: Pipo Derani, Jack Aitken, Felipe Drugovich

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Aitken is taking part in the World Endurance Championship classic for the third time, having contested it with the LMP2 Algarve Pro Racing squad in 2022 before joining the Action Express Racing (rebranded Whelen Engineering Racing at Le Mans) Cadillac squad in IMSA.

He was at the wheel for the race start at Circuit de la Sarthe last year. However, he was caught out by the damp track at the Daytona chicane on the very first lap and hit the wall.

Although the damage was not terminal, repair work was needed; Aitken and team-mates Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims then lost eleven laps and any hopes of a podium finish.

One year on, the British driver is keen to repay his team's trust without any knee-jerk reaction.

"I'm not really going to come into this Le Mans looking to change anything," he told Autosport.

"After last year, I went through everything a billion times – as you would.

"In the end, I'm just trying to do the best job I can, and I slightly overstepped. But I don't think that I drove like an idiot.

Damage on the #311 in 2023.

Damage on the #311 in 2023.

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

"I'm lucky that I have the support of the Cadillac crew. They're all behind me, and they don't believe I need to change anything major either.

"The worst thing would be to come into this year's race – whether I start the race, or Pipo, or Felipe – to come in with a point to prove, because that's when you make more mistakes."

Aitken is particularly thankful that his team did not lose faith in him after his "really heartbreaking" error. "I wouldn't have blamed them at all if they had, but they're a fantastic group of people," he praised. "And even if it hurts, they know that they make mistakes sometimes as well, and they didn't hold it against me.

"If I do it a second time, they probably are free to kick me around a bit and call me all the names. That's the difference: you learn from the mistake, you don't do it again and you move on."

A winner at the Sebring IMSA round last year, Aitken started the 2024 campaign in convincing fashion alongside Derani, with the duo taking three pole positions and as many second places in five events.

This gives him "confidence in [his] ability" and he certainly doesn't lack ambition ahead of a Le Mans race he and team-mates Derani and Felipe Drugovich will start from 18th in the #311 Cadillac V-Series.R.

"I'm dreaming of a podium," Aitken admitted. "A top step is not out of question.

"Anything can happen, and I don't think until the first couple of stints happen in the race – that's when we get the clear picture of the race. Even in qualifying, it's never quite the same.

"I'll be crossing my fingers that Saturday afternoon we show good pace, and then that will be game on."

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Jota completes Le Mans airfield shakedown of rebuilt Porsche
Next article Le Mans 2024: The team by team guide

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia